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The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has partnered anew with SM Supermalls in mounting a photo exhibit and a stage play to raise awareness and uphold the rights and welfare of children with disabilities (CWDs).

The photo exhibit titled “See What I Can Do,” held in collaboration with Camera Club of the Philippines, was formally launched recently and opened by Vice President Leni Robredo, Unicef Deputy Representative Julia Rees and SM Supermalls president Annie Garcia.

The exhibit featured photographs of CWDs and the outstanding achievements they have done despite their condition.

After the opening of the photo exhibit, the play, entitled “Sandosenang Sapatos,” was staged by Tanghalang Pilipino. The musical play is based on Dr. Luis Gatmaitan’s Palanca award-winning children’s book of the same title. It tackles the love between the father and his daughter who was born without legs.

Garcia said the objective of the exhibit, which coincided with the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week, was to help raise awareness and create an inclusive environment wherein CWDs’ abilities are highlighted instead of their disabilities.

“It is said that children with disabilities are oftentimes misunderstood in society, facing discrimination at times. With society’s lack of understanding, these children and their parents find it hard to realize their full rights and potentials,” Garcia said.

Garcia said the play was just one of the collaborative projects SM has with Unicef, being partners since 2008.

“This event even becomes more special because it also touches on an advocacy close to our hearts—the rights of children,” she said.

Other notable partnership projects of SM and Unicef include the WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) Project wherein a portion of the sale of SM’s bottled water goes to the organization’s efforts to provide clean drinking water to various provinces. To date, it has already helped more than 113,000 schoolchildren across the country.

Persons with disability (PWD) partner groups such as the Autism Society Philippines, Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Akap Pinoy and National Council for Disability Affairs also attended the event.

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